Captain Cesc Fabregas, who had been a doubt for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona after suffering severe bruising to his knee and leg at Birmingham, sustained the small fracture when fouled by Carles Puyol for the crucial late penalty which earned Arsenal a 2-2 draw. He will be out for at least six weeks with a cracked bone in his right fibula.
It means the Arsenal skipper will miss the rest of the Premier League season and is a serious doubt for the World Cup finals. The midfielder will still be injured when Spain have to announce their provisional squad on May 12.
While the loss of Fabregas may not be quite so damaging for Spain, with the 22-year-old starting only three of his country’s World Cup qualifiers, Arsenal will surely find it difficult to challenge for honours at home and in Europe without their talismanic captain. Although he was able to get up and fire home from the spot he was immediately in discomfort during his celebration. Fabregas left Emirates Stadium on crutches and had admitted he feared the worst.
Arsenal trail Premier League leaders Manchester United by four points, and while they may have favourable fixtures the loss of Fabregas, as well as William Gallas, for the rest of the campaign will make their task difficult. Andrei Arshavin also went off injured against Barcelona and will be out for most of April.